Golden chance for firms to get going must not be missed

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BLAISE TAPP: Even in the 21st century, you can't beat old-fashioned playtime

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There’s nothing like reporting on positive news for our area – and it’s even better when we can say The News has played a part in making that happen.

That’s precisely the case with the Bridging the Gap scheme, which is backed by this paper.

Since being set up by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in 2012 to help businesses grow, more than £700,000 has been dished out to worthy firms eager to get up and running.

Even better, 103 new jobs have been created as a result.

The good news will not end there, either, with £800,000 still to give away – but only two months to get it.

Taking a read of Jonathan Hulls’ story today on page 10 today shows what a dramatic boost the fund can have on a business.

Jonathan had long planned of starting his own biofuels company. But it was only after receiving a £35,000 grant from Bridging the Gap that he was able to turn his dream into a reality.

He follows three more firms being revealed in The News last week as recipients for thousands of pounds in funding.

They ranged from a unique store which combines music with comfort foods like pie and mash, an engineering firm, and a decorating and renovation service.

Others now have a chance to follow suit.

At a time when the public sector is seeing cuts being made, schemes like this – supporting small to medium-sized businesses – are vital in helping to revive local economies.

Everyone is hoping that the economy will soon return properly to growth and the tough financial climate of recent years will fade.

But in the meantime, we need businesses eager to seize the initiative to keep our region moving forward.

The Bridging The Gap fund is a great way to enable this to happen.

And that’s why we urge entrepreneurs not to pass up the chance to get a helping hand in making a difference.